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Death By Water (Phryne Fisher #15)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  1,523 ratings  ·  115 reviews
The nice men at P & O are worried. A succession of jewelry thefts from the first-class passengers is hardly the best advertisement for their cruises. Phryne Fisher, with her Lulu bob, green eyes, cupid's bow lips, and sense of the ends justifying the means, is just the person to mingle seamlessly with the upper classes and take on a case of theft on the high seas on a ...more
ebook, 268 pages
Published February 2012 by Poisoned Pen Presss (first published 2005)
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This is definitely one of the weaker installments with the series. I got the sense early on that Greenwood was trying for a sort of Murder on the Orient Express solution, but what we ended up with managed to be anticlimactic and confusing rather than satisfyingly clever. There are also some racial issues here which go beyond a realistic evocation of the kind of racial attitudes which a group of upper class white people were likely to hold in the Australia and New Zealand of the 1920s. There are ...more
I haven't read any of the Phryne Fisher series for a few years but I remembered it really fondly. I mean, it's fluff but good fluff - sweet, sassy crime fiction set in Melbourne in the 1920s, vaguely liberal-feminist and pro-unions. But fuck this book has a totally ridiculous plot, the worst resolution ever and heaps of dumb racist white people. And it's not even set in Melbourne.

It's set on a trans-Atlantic cruise and the entire cast of characters is (a) helpful servile people of colour (b) wh
Normally I like to read books of series in sequence and this is book no. 15 in the Phryne Fisher series and I’m only up to no. 11. But when I found out there was a Phryne Fisher book set on a cruise ship going to New Zealand, just as I was doing in the second half of January, I simply had to take it along for my shipboard reading material!!

Reading it under similar circumstances to its setting certainly gave it more relevance to me, and despite the fact that Phryne was travelling in the 1920’s, i
Chris Davis
If you are looking for a murder mystery, move along.

However, if you're looking for a book filled with nautical trivia and lectures on the Maori culture imparted while rich people sit around a table and eat really well described food, then this is the book for you.

This was by far the worst of the Phryne Fisher books, and that takes the random and vague Green Mill Mystery and rambling Raisins and Almonds into consideration.

The death in the title does not occur until approximately page 197. (Note:
This Miss Fisher is the first I've read after enjoying the first video series (I'm still trying to get to see the second). I really enjoyed it and I think it stands a good chance of replacing Agatha Raisens as delightful fodder to clear my palate between heavier reading.
I loved the setting for this one - a cruise ship
In the late 1920s with all the splendour and decadence you would imagine. The actual mystery was a little convoluted and I miss some of the strong side characters (Bert,Cess, Jack, Lin) who didn't make an appearance, but it's still an entertaining 3 star read
Again Kerry Greenwood has Phryne tackles a classic Golden Age Detective scenario: the locked room mystery. In this instance the case takes place on board a cruise ship sailing between Australia and New Zealand.

I found it one of the most appealing of the series with lots of period detail and an emphasis upon New Zealand and Maori culture as well as life on board the ship, the S.S. Hinemoa. Greenwood created this fictional ship as there was not much information available on the actual cruise ship
This one drug like I would imaging a cruise would. I really like all the Maori details and information on New Zealand but this whole book seemed to be a lot of sitting around and then kaboom, over! I also would have liked a real shipboard affair, that is what Phryne would do. I feel the whole Lin Chung thing is making her boring and as much as she espouses free love, she actually doesn't seem to anymore

Also, since I'm being cranky, ending each chapter with letters from people planning to travel
Sherry Chandler
The Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher is invincible, insatiable, and incredible.

She's also a clothes horse.

She associates with Wobblies, prostitutes, and policemen as well as the aristocracy in 1920s Melbourne.

She drives a Hispano-Suiza and flies a de Havilland Moth.

Her most favored lover is a suave Chinese clan leader.

She lives life with panache. With, in fact, a different panache for every occasion. She wears them in her straight black hair.

Kerry Greenwood is akin to Terry Pratchett in her wit, tho
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Phryne Fisher combines work with pleasure as she and Dot take to the high seas to find out who is stealing the jewels from around the first-class passengers' necks on the dance floor. Of course she is given the Imperial suite, and the cruise ship adventure is like a house-party mystery on the water. We have the meal at the captain's table, the masquerade dance, the disappearing corpse--or is it? What's upsetting the ship's doctor? And why does one passenger eat nothing but omelettes at every mea ...more
Phryne (rhymes with briny) Fisher is an original. She lives in Australia, but was raised in England, spent time in France and has had many and varied experiences. As a private detective in Australia, she uses all she has learned to solve mysteries. This is another series with an historical base, Australia in the mid to late 1920s, a time and place I knew nothing about. After the first 15 volume, I know a little about a lot of different subjects , thanks to Phryne. In this story, Phryne takes a j ...more
Phryne Fisher is not looking forward to Mr and Mrs Butler going away for a fortnight while she has her sister, Eliza and her partner Alice staying with her. Fearing that she will have a disorganised and noisy time of it she decides to accept a request from P&O to go on a cruise to see if she can discover who is stealing passengers' jewellery.

She takes her companion, Dot Williams with her, and looks forward to a quiet two weeks with a little light detecting on the side. When she arrives on bo
BOTTOM LINE: #15 Phryne Fisher, Investigator, 1928 Melbourne & S.S. Hinemoa; cosy PI with bite. Asked to investigate the theft of jewels from a luxury cruise line, Phryne finds herself amongst some really strange birds when she sails on their next trip around Australia and New Zealand. Another satisfying trip with Phryne into her ultra-chic world; still one of my favorite series after fifteen entries - it hasn’t disappointed me yet.

At first I thought this story was only fair (for this usual
Death by Water by Kerry Greenwood is a cozy little installment of the grownup's Nancy Drew, Phryne Fisher. This mystery series is set in 1920s Australia and stars the Honorable Phryne Fisher--rich, beautiful and smart child of the Jazz Age. Like Nancy, she can keep up with the men and boys and give as good as she gets. She can handle a pistol and herself in a fight. She drives a beautiful, fast car and can fly an airplane. She swims like a fish and can dance all night. And she run circles around ...more
Death By Water is the fifteenth book in the popular Phryne Fisher series by Australian author, Kerry Greenwood. This instalment is a version of closed room mystery, with the closed room being the First Class section of the P&O liner SS Hinemoa on a voyage from Melbourne to New Zealand. Phryne accepts an invitation from P&O to help them catch a jewel thief who has managed to boldly lift diamonds, pearls and emeralds from passengers on three separate cruises, once on a crowded dance floor. ...more
It's always fun to revisit the world of Phryne Fisher. She is like a comforting friend to turn to when I need some on the light side to read. She is a friend I would like to have in real life, although some of my friends do incorporate some of her positive traits. I like Phryne Fisher as a character because she is an independent woman ahead of the time she lives in. She thinks for herself, and does what makes her happy, no matter what convention dictates, and no matter how people look at her. He ...more
I enjoyed the ship setting, although the reveal of one subplot struck me as weird--but my heart will go on!

Edited to add: As some other reviewers have mentioned, there are definitely some issues with depictions of racism and characters who are meant to be 'enlightened' in ethnic clothing, although Greenwood doesn't seem to have fallen as far down the rabbit hole with her idealized British colonial characters, as say, Laurie R. King in O Jerusalem and Justice Hall (or was it Kingdom Hall?).
In "Death by Water" Phryne is driven to work as an investigator on a cruise ship by the level of domestic turmoil at her home. Her role onboard is to find the jewel thief who has been at work on the ship over several recent cruises, as the shipping line is keen to save their reputation.

Again, Phryne is self assured, fabulously fashionable, confident and capable of holding her own against some very nasty characters.

The descriptions of the interior of the ship were beautiful and evocative and the
Another fun Phryne story!

I love the Phryne series for its entertainment value, it is easy reading or listening if you do the audible book, yet engaging as well. The characters are interesting and I like the way Greenwood is developing them. I also enjoy the tidbits of Australian history provided. I also enjoy being able to go back and forth between reading on my Fire and listening to audio on my phone.
Tyrannosaurus regina
Eh. That's not a particularly useful description, but it sums up best how I felt after reading this one. I missed all the usual players (even Dot was barely around), and had the mystery half figured out right from the start. Plus, while I know it would have been historically accurate, it was still uncomfortable at best that most of the costumes for the party were so very racist.
I found this book boring but interesting. For me there was to much information about New Zealand and the titanic. The main character was bored on the boat and so was I.

The book gave me a pretty good indication of what it would be like to be on a cruise. It didn't really sound very exciting at all. Phryne seemed bored at times as well.
Not bad, although being a New Zealander I couldn't help but notice the misspellings of Fiordland, Rotorua and paua (although the last was spelled correctely the second time so it was obviously a typo). The story left me feeling vaguely dissatisfied though.
The significance of the brief letters at the end of each chapter becomes apparent towards the end, although I think it was unnecessary and didn't add anything.
Phryne Fisher is an intelligent, sexy, and stylish lady detective in 1920s Melbourne. In this book she attempts to solve jewelry theft and murder on a luxury cruise ship. Along the way she and her trusted companion Dot Williams try to eliminate suspects from among their co-passengers, many of whom hide guilty secrets.

Kerry Greenwood has created one of the most memorable female detectives in recent literature. Phryne Fisher is smart and fearless, an independent woman doing what she loves best - s
Beth E
I loved the setting in this book. The ship was described in detail, and it was detailed and believable.

This book made me want to travel to New Zealand!

Phryne and Dot set out on a cruise to catch a jewel thief, escaping the chaos at home and leaving Phryne's sister Eliza in charge.

The shipboard characters were interesting and unique. Unfortunately, someone on board is not only a jewel thief- but a murderer. Or are they?

A luxury liner, jewel thieves, a murder in the final third, and some Maori culture thrown in as well. Entertaining as usual though I did find the solving of the heists a bit contrived.

I really wish the reader, Stephanie Daniel, would not sing; she has a beautiful speaking voice but her singing voice is truly grating. Tis a shame really, as the actress in the televised Australian series, Essie Davis, has a lovely alto voice when she sings.
Marlene Debo
Surprised me -- I liked it. Not a mystery reader.

PROS Liked the character Phryne: smart, independent, flapper detective... Liked the setting on a luxury cruise ship in the 1920s. She surprised me with the end. I didn't know who did it.

CONS Pretty repetitive chapter after chapter.
I really tried to find one of the stories that was not on the TV show, which is why I read #15 first. However, I don't think knowing the killer would ruin the joy of reading these books, so I may go back to the start. There is so much going on in the background, and all the characters/suspects have something to offer the story. I was somewhat disappointed that Jack was not in this one, so I at least have to find one with him in it. Phryne is fantastic, her wit and style are quite enjoyable.
Melissa Burke

With attempts to steal a sapphire, a mistaken murder , a wife beater and an adorable but scrungy cat, this story with a taste of Maori culture thrown in is interesting, misleading and very entertaining.
H.M. Chambers
I fell in love with the Phryne Fisher series from watching the Australian tv show....and the books are just as delightful! Full of period color, dress, manners, and activities, these books will wish you away into another captivating world.
Ellie R.
I have a thing for strong lady detectives, and Phryne Fisher does not disappoint. A bit toothless as murder mysteries go, as the good generally end happily and the bad unhappily. What I like the best is the description of the cruise around New Zealand, and discussion of Maori culture.
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Kerry Greenwood was born in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray and after wandering far and wide, she returned to live there. She has a degree in English and Law from Melbourne University and was admitted to the legal profession on the 1st April 1982, a day which she finds both soothing and significant.

Kerry has written twenty novels, a number of plays, including The Troubadours with Stephen D'Arcy,
More about Kerry Greenwood...

Other Books in the Series

Phryne Fisher (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1)
  • Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher, #2)
  • Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher, #3)
  • Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher, #4)
  • The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher, #5)
  • Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher, #6)
  • Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher, #7)
  • Urn Burial (Phryne Fisher, #8)
  • Raisins and Almonds (Phryne Fisher, #9)
  • Death Before Wicket (Phryne Fisher, #10)

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